Tag Archives: Mary Clare Sweet

Let it Flow

January 3, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

“Omaha has amazing yoga leaders who’ve been here for decades, but I wanted to bring something a little more contemporary to the table, in line with what I’d practiced on the coasts. (Lotus) is really a big family and a women-run company; all the people on our leadership team and in administration are women.”

-Mary Clare Sweet

The writing is on the wall at Lotus House of Yoga.

Colorful chalk scribblings dance across interior walls at the new Aksarben location, transmitting empowering messages like “Trust your gut,” “The revolution starts with one hungry heart,” “What you can dream, you can achieve,” and “You are getting stronger right now.”

Lotus offers yoga, barre, and cycling classes that will get your body in shape, but even more impressive are the positive effects on mind and spirit. This isn’t merely physical exercise, it’s an exercise in love, strength, and fulfillment. 

houseofyoga1“My ultimate goal is to share love through yoga,” says Lotus founder Mary Clare Sweet. “You leave feeling better because you’re developing an authentic relationship with yourself. When you’re connected to that authenticity—with nature and with your own true nature—you can go out into the world and make great changes.”

Her nickname is “M.C.”—short for Mary Clare and also quite fitting as she’s master of ceremonies for the alternately peaceful, playful party that is Lotus. With an extensive background in dance and a lifelong love of yoga handed down from her mother and business partner, Lotus CEO Anne Sweet, Lincoln native Mary Clare moved to Omaha via NYC to lay the foundation for her Midwestern yoga empire.

“Omaha has amazing yoga leaders who’ve been here for decades, but I wanted to bring something a little more contemporary to the table, in line with what I’d practiced on the coasts,” says Mary Clare.

In 2010, Mary Clare partnered with her uncle, Joseph Duryea, to launch Lotus at 144th Street and Eagle Run Drive—where she taught a demanding 19 classes per week, “just purely driven by my heart and the love,” she says. In 2012, she bought Duryea out and Anne came on as partner/CEO, bringing business experience that Mary Clare says helped take Lotus to the next level with solid strategy and brand communication. That winter, Lotus opened at One Pacific Place and Midtown Crossing. Two Lincoln locations followed in 2013 and 2014, with the downtown studio adding a neighboring Lotus-powered High Vibe Cafe, a fresh juice bar also selling healthy snacks and açai bowls, in 2015. 

houseofyoga2In 2016, Lotus closed its Midtown Crossing studio and opened in Aksarben. With vibrant natural light, a welcoming lobby where UNO students and others happily hang out, studios for barre, yoga, and cycling, and an in-house High Vibe Cafe, the latest location is a proud progression for the Lotus crew. 

“You can see the manifestation of our vision written on the walls here,” says Mary Clare. “It’s exactly how we want it, we wouldn’t change a thing. It’s absolutely filled with love, and we’re so happy to be here.”

While Lotus sees plenty of male clients and has some male teachers, it is largely a female-driven endeavor. 

“[Lotus] is really a big family and a women-run company; all the people on our leadership team and in administration are women,” she says.

In addition to the strong, lady-powered energy and community spirit forged by these humble warriors, clients can also depend on classes filled with sweet beats, rad refrains, and soothing sonic journeys, as carefully crafted playlists strategically correspond songs to chakras. From The Beatles to Beyoncé, tracks span genres including folk, pop, hip-hop, soul, and rock.    

“Music has always been the cornerstone of Lotus. Our mission is to raise the vibration, and music is vibration; so that’s a huge part of it,” says Mary Clare. “We aim to marry the ancient and modern together to create an experience that feels like home, that feels like love, that’s accessible and available to everyone, no matter who you are or where you come from.”

Visit lotushouseofyoga.com for more information.


Mary Clare Sweet

July 28, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

The 8 a.m. hour may be a time when most are driving to work, still half asleep, yearning for a morning cup of Joe. But not Mary Clare Sweet. All smiles and energy, she welcomes her fellow yogis to Lotus House of Yoga. Each new arrival receives a hug or squeal of excitement attached to their name (usually both) as they walk through the door.

According to Sweet, eye contact and great big hugs are the most important yoga pose you will ever do. Bare feet begin to march their way into the studio and mats appear on the hardwood floors. Heat radiates through the air as Sweet takes a moment to adjust the lights and turn on the tunes before taking her place at the front of the room.

“So where is it that you need just a little more determination today?” Sweet asks, walking through the maze of bodies twisted every which way. It is readily evident that determination is something she knows quite well.

Sweet began her own yoga journey as a little girl as taught by her mother, Anne Sweet. After graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, she moved to New York where she met yoga teachers that inspired her to want to devote her efforts to the practice and its way of life. Homesick, she moved back to Nebraska, settling in Omaha, where she taught at Nebraska Dance for five years before opening Lotus House of Yoga.

The studio just celebrated its fourth anniversary and boasts three locations in the Omaha area, one of which is nestled in Midtown Crossing. A fourth studio recently opened in Lincoln.

“Yoga has given me a sense of truly expanded consciousness,” said Sweet.

“Whatever my wildest dreams are, I have no fear in pursuing them. Yoga helps you be who you really are and you get excited about presenting that to the world.”

It is clear that Sweet is doing just that as she shares a passion for love, both inside and outside the studio. After being asked to officiate a friend’s wedding several years ago, she has gone on to perform several ceremonies. Two more are scheduled for later this year.

“I practice love, and love in every capacity,” adds Sweet. “It’s very easy for me to talk about love and to write about love. Officiating at weddings, she says, is “a really wonderful way for people to have a nontraditional ceremony, but also keep it in line with their spiritual beliefs and have some sense of universal spirituality in their ceremony.”

It’s no wonder that Sweet has Omahans getting up at the crack of dawn to make it to her studios. Love and compassion appear to envelope her like a cloud wherever she goes, and it’s felt by all that enter her doors.

“I come back because of how personal they make it,” said Summer Froehoich, a nurse at Methodist Hospital. “I developed relationships instantly with the teachers and other yogis. I’ve gained a real friendship base [and lots of warm hugs] through Lotus.”